A freelance writer on how she got started in a vicious industry, and how she plans on making it out alive.
By: Jamie Iannace
To a common observer, Brittany Fischer is an enigma. She’s an enigma in the same way seventh grade geometry proofs were an enigma. You think you have them all figured out, but you really can’t prove a single thing when it comes down to it.
Fischer is currently in Las Vegas; last week she was in Chicago. In fact, she has more pins on her Facebook map at the age of 26 than most will have in their entire lifetime. “I’m still working on finding a routine,” she states in regards to her erratic lifestyle.
But why should she? Fischer is a young, vivacious freelance writer in the greater Boston area. Her biggest commitment is to her developing blog, Boston by Brittany, of which she proudly proclaims herself to be the “head bitch in charge”.
However, her jet-setting lifestyle makes sitting down with her for an interview rather difficult. In lieu of chasing her cross-country, she agreed to a Q&A conducted via email.
Through our correspondence, I could tell that Fischer was a true writer. She was lively and engaging but often terse, getting to her point as succinctly as possible. When asked, Fischer mused about her foundations in writing. “In third grade, I loved writing so much. I would write short stories and read them out loud to the class, and all my classmates started demanding that I read the same stories over and over each day. They were always silly little poems–I loved making people laugh.” She continued by recalling her teacher’s encouragement to move her up a grade, but Fischer declined, due to her ineptitude in math. Nevertheless, Fischer states, “My passion for writing continued on since then—it’s the only thing I do where I completely lose my sense of time and get into the zone.”
Despite Fischer’s penchant for writing, she wasn’t completely sold on a future in the field. Due to the anxiety that generally accompanies choosing a career, Fischer decided to go to Boston University for Early Childhood Education. While there, a professor urged her to reconsider her major, telling her that she was meant to be a writer. The slightest push from her professor was all she needed. “I changed my major that day,” Fischer stated. Although she studied Magazine Journalism, English Literature, and French, she admits that her biggest concerns were finding the newest bar in town and figuring out which fashion trends would be the most popular next season. Therefore, it didn’t come as any surprise when she launched her own blog reviewing everything she had long loved. “I was trying to get a writing job, and I thought that this would be a good way of getting my name out there. Instead of applying to all sorts of jobs, the people looking to hire would come to me.”
This approach has certainly been working for her. Her blog is a shining paragon for what lifestyle blogs should be. Fischer claims that the blog represents her true personality. She describes her writing as “bold, indulgent, colloquial, and silly”. Through her conversational and often satirical banter, Fischer sets herself apart from other blogs and truly captures something special, a spark that keeps readers coming back for more.
Despite her blog’s popularity, Fischer explains that life is still difficult for a fledgling writer. “I freelance write for a few different publications, but it’s still not enough to make a full living. I work part-time in retail on the side.” During her time at Boston University, Fischer was a sales associate at Intermix, a swanky boutique located in downtown Boston. While she may only be working in retail to pay the rent, her roots in fashion are undoubtedly deep. It is nearly impossible to gloss over her blog and fail to recognize Fischer’s love of all things beautiful.
Regarding her personal style, she stated, “The stuff I wear during the day is pretty boring. It’s at night that I really dress up and get creative with my makeup and clothes. But during the day, if it’s cold I’ll be wearing AG jeans and some sort of floaty blouse. On summer days I’m almost always wearing a dress–my closet is 80% dresses.” She continues on, relating her style as “definitely a little bit hippie/boho, and very feminine.”
For those unaware, AG jeans are a week’s pay for most of us. That’s a bit of a leap from what we imagine a struggling post-grad to be donning. However, the effort Fischer puts into her appearance is not actually surprising when you consider her background in marketing. She has experience working as a copywriter for various companies around the Boston area. Reflecting upon her work in advertising, she indicated, “I would still love to be a copywriter. Don Draper totally has my dream job.”
In the marketing industry, it is important to remember that aesthetics always matter. In this way, Fischer seems to operate under a “fake it ‘til you make it” motto. While that phrase usually denotes a negative connotation, it shouldn’t in this case. Her carefree attitude and swanky $500 jeans give off the impression that she knows quality, and is therefore more apt to write a decent review. Why would you want someone in rags reviewing your newest clothing line?
Fischer’s job is admittedly kind of great. Being a critic certainly seems to have its perks. “I’ve had free seven-course meals at fancy restaurants, free facials, free blowouts, free manicures, etc.” Advantages such as these surely help Fischer keep up her highly sought- after aesthetic.
Regarding the difficulties that accompany the job, Fischer explains, “Definitely getting started…I am such a procrastinator. But once I force myself to start (turn off the TV, “X” out of Facebook, put on some music), it’s usually pretty fun.” And when the work is just too overwhelming? “I drink wine. Haha. I also do yoga, but if I’ve had a really awful day, the answer is wine, chocolate, and a good movie–preferably a comedy.” However, she doesn’t indicate that she has many of the proverbial stressful days at work. When your life revolves around doing the things you love, everything seems to work out pretty nicely.
So she’s landed a pretty sweet gig, but it must have been worrisome entering a field so notorious for being brutal. “Yes. I remember my dad saying to me once, ‘If you want to be a writer, you have to be an AMAZING writer.’ It sounds obvious, but I think it’s one of the few careers where if you aren’t absolutely incredible at what you do, you can’t make any sort of living. If you’re decent at what you do, you’ll be dirt poor.”
However, it’s not for the love of money that people become writers. There are plenty of jobs that offer security and a 401K, but freelance writing isn’t one of them. Fischer writes because it is her passion to write. Offering advice to the novices who feels the same passion she does, she remarked, “Read a lot. Acquire a great vocabulary. Take college level course that are dedicated solely to grammar. When you really like a passage of writing, memorize it word for word and break down all the elements of it–decide why you like it so much, and use the same techniques in your own writing. In terms of making money, I’m still working on that–let me know if you figure it out!”
Brittany Fischer has proven herself to be a (supposedly) poor, designer label clad, jet- setting, part-time working, freelance writer. She is a self-starter who is determined to make her way in an industry known for being cruel no matter how long and difficult the journey is. In the meantime, she’s content romping about Boston, wining and dining, seeing everything there is to see. And while Fischer may encompass all these quirky attributes, she is, above all, talented.